Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

October 29, 2009

Young Readers Center Opens at Library of Congress

Center Is First in Library’s History for Young People

The Library of Congress, for the first time in its history, has a space devoted to the reading interests of children and teens in its historic Thomas Jefferson Building.

On Oct. 23, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington welcomed a group of young people, parents and others to the new Young Readers Center. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and her three children and Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) and his son helped open the new center.

M.T. Anderson, who writes books for both children and teens, was the special guest author. He is the writer of such acclaimed and popular books as "The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing" and "Me, All Alone, at the End of the World." Anderson has also appeared at the Library’s 2007 National Book Festival.

Visitors to the Young Readers Center can choose to read a book from an up-to-date collection of noncirculating titles; they can browse the web’s kid-friendly sites; or they can attend programs especially designed for young readers. The center’s media room also provides an opportunity for visitors to view webcasts of young adult and children’s authors who have appeared at the National Book Festival.

"We want you and other young readers to have a place where you can gain an introduction to the wonders of your nation’s library," said Billington to the children gathered in the center.

The Young Readers Center is located in Room G 31, ground floor, of the Thomas Jefferson Building at the corner of First Street and Independence Ave. S.E. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and is closed on all federal holidays. The phone number is (202) 707-1950.

The Center for the Book also helps oversee the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature (www.childrensbookambassador.com (external link)) in collaboration with the Children’s Book Council (www.cbcbooks.org (external link)). The first ambassador is Jon Scieszka, whose two-year term will end in December 2009; a new ambassador will be named in January 2010.

The center also oversees the new website at www.read.gov, which provides reading resources especially for kids and teens, as well as adults, educators and parents. A highlight of the site is the exclusive episodic story called "The Exquisite Corpse Adventure," a joint project with the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance (www.thencbla.org (external link)). Every two weeks a new episode and illustration will appear. Some of the nation’s best authors and illustrators for young people are contributing their work to this project.

The Center for the Book was established by Congress in 1977 "to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to promote books, reading, literacy and libraries." With its many educational programs that reach readers of all ages, through its support of the National Book Festival and through its dynamic state centers in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Center for the Book has developed a nationwide network of organizational partners dedicated to promoting the wonders and benefits of reading.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.

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PR 09-221
10/29/09
ISSN 0731-3527

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